Royals United launches mental health awareness campaign

The student-led initiative strives to debunk stigma and misperceptions around mental health and mental illness
December 13, 2018

The Hopkins High School student group Royals United launched a mental health awareness campaign on Thursday, Dec. 13 during a special BOOST TASC session. About 100 students attended the presentation, which was designed to debunk the stigma around mental health, increase awareness on the wide-range of mental health issues that affect us all, and provide information on the resources the high school offers.

"I think the campaign's goal to reduce stigma around mental health is important at Hopkins High School for many reason, one of which being that many students still think they're completely alone in their struggles with mental health," said Leah Stillman, senior at Hopkins High School, and one of the student leaders of Royals United.

Royals United is a student-led initiative that works collaboratively with staff and administration to improve student mental health supports. It is co-funded by Hopkins Education Foundation and Hopkins Community Education, and a partnership between Hopkins One Voice Coalition and Hopkins High School.

"Stigma makes it difficult for people to get help, and the Hopkins students want to break this barrier down," said Holly Magdanz, Hopkins One Voice coordinator.

As part of the awareness campaign, Royals United produced a campaign video with the help of Community Blueprint. The video showed a number of students and staff talking about how mental health and mental illness have affected them. Many students spoke about their personal experience with depression and anxiety. 

"I couldn't be more proud of their courage and willingness to talk openly about mental health in order to help others, and to work collaboratively to create lasting change," Magdanz said.

In addition to the Royals United campaign, Hopkins High School has been making efforts to provide mental health resources to students through after school counseling, yoga, therapy dogs, and more.

The Wellness Center, staffed by a social worker, school psychologist, and a therapist, recently opened at Hopkins High School. It is an after-school drop-in space that students can access to get mental health help and support. It was made possible with a grant from the Hopkins Education Foundation and is available to students free of charge.

"I feel strongly that a generational shift is happening, and students today are breaking down the barrier of stigma by more openly talking about mental health from a personal lens," Magdanz said. 

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